Elton John's style evolution in 54 photos: master of embellished suit and statement shades

The British singer is known for being 'sartorially crazy'

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Sir Elton John's style is nothing if not loud.

Since the beginning of his career in the 1960s, the British singer and pianist, 74, has made style statements courtesy of fur coats, metallic platformed boots, sequinned and embellished suits, colourful glasses and eye-catching hats in his 50-plus years in the public eye.

The performer isn't one to shy away from colour. Rarely seen in a block black suit, he instead reaches for lilac, green, blue, mint, red and pink sets, or outfits finished with sequins, Swarovski crystals and metallic rope detailing.

I can’t believe how sartorially crazy I was, particularly in the 1970s
Elton John

John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour may have been delayed once again, but ahead of the tour, he worked with Gucci's Alessandro Michele to create a stage wardrobe that reflected the different eras of his career.

"I’ve kept an archive of my stage costumes from the very beginning of my career and thought it would be fun to open up my little treasure chest with Alessandro and his design team," John told V Magazine in 2018.

"Seeing how Alessandro reinterpreted key looks for today’s world has unearthed an exhilarating rush of emotions. I can’t believe how sartorially crazy I was, particularly in the 1970s!

"I feel so blessed to have been a songwriter and performer in the ’70s. It was a decade with an unprecedented explosion of creativity in music, fashion, and filmmaking."

Terry O’Neill CBE has passed away at the age of 81, quietly at home after a long illness (30th July 1938 - 16th November 2019) He was one of the world’s most renowned and collected photographers, from presidents to pop stars he had photographed the frontline of fame for over six decades. 

Elton John photographed by Terry O'Neill CBE, whilst he performed at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, October 1975.  

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His style was dissected in the 2019 film Rocketman, in which Taron Egerton played the singer in his younger years. The film meticulously paid homage to John's most famous looks, from the bejewelled Dodgers jersey, made famous by a 1975 Terry O’Neill photo, to his beloved heart-shaped glasses.

Julian Day, the Rocketman costume designer, said of his creative process, "There’s still quite a lot left in his archive spanning right back to the early 1970s. Although he auctioned off a few pieces to charity, it’s still a great stock. That’s what inspired me in some ways, knowing where Bob Mackie would have got his inspiration from.

"It was quite scattergun. The only theme was outrageousness, exaggeration and being larger than life. Often he decides what he’s going to wear 20 minutes before going on stage and then he becomes Elton John – the pantomime."

Of course, John's style is synonymous with sunglasses – "I'm just not myself without my glasses," he says.

Fittingly, in November, he announced an eyewear collection in collaboration with Walmart, with proceeds going to his charity, the Elton John Aids Foundation.

Offstage and away from the red carpet, the celebrity isn't afraid to dress down in a tracksuit, with Adidas and Gucci looks among his favourites. The latter was his choice for the Merry Christmas music video, which he released with Ed Sheeran in December last year.

Updated: January 26, 2022, 1:34 PM